illennials have been a hot topic for quite some time. Why is attracting and engaging younger audiences more of a challenge for the gambling industry?
I don't think millennials are the issue. I believe millennials have a very specific way they consume their entertainment. They're very much focused on mobile and instantaneousness, and I think that has a lot to do with game design and marketing messages. People are following the money, which is important, though they also need to look at the next segment. It is an issue of content, an issue of distribution and an issue of companies’ preparedness to go into these areas to engage with millennials.
The game type and design is more important than the game itself. The millennials will play a slot game, though it needs to be designed in a certain way. Developers must understand that there needs to be a competitive element. Candy Crush, for instance, is a little competition with yourself, and it shows that the game design needs to be along those lines. After all, it's not an automated bingo game – it's an interactive game. I believe slot content can be interactive, especially with the in-game features.
Once you've got the product, the second problem is distribution: how are you going to market the product to attract people? I don't think attracting millennials is a single issue discussion – it’s a multiple issue one.
What are the main differences between G2E and ICE?
The biggest difference between G2E and ICE is the greater presence of brick-and-mortar versus interactive. I find that the G2E conference is very focused on the brick-and-mortar casino sector. You see more uniform-design places, chair distribution places, and counting machines manufacturers. There's much more infrastructure for the bricks and mortars in Vegas, whereas at ICE it's more about iGaming content and innovation. They've got a really important real-money iGaming market in the UK, and they're looking at capitalizing on that.
Talking of iGaming: Can it happen in the U.S.?
America has a lot of history and a lot of agendas, and I believe that history is contributing to a more gradual pace for iGaming’s emergence. There's no country in the world where gambling developed in the same way it did in the States.
In the U.S., gambling is about compliance, not commercials. Understandably, Americans take the rules very seriously. And when you don't know what you don't know, it becomes very difficult to protect your people.
New Jersey has done a spectacular job with their iGaming market. They've been commercially relevant. They have also been very transparent, and they've shown this can be done – that it's not impossible. Of course, they haven't met everybody's expectations. We may have seen a completely different scenario if New Jersey had launched and it was now the two billion dollar market that everyone was projecting. Maybe online gambling in the U.S. would have then moved forward more rapidly than it has. However, I don't think it could have been a two billion dollar market with the level of compliance the state needed to make it safe.
I strongly believe that online gambling will expand in the U.S. market. There are many people who are very passionate about it, so there will be lots of opportunities.
What are the most significant opportunities for operators in America?
Daily fantasy sports, eSports and social gaming are the three big opportunities for operators who want to get a digital footprint for their brands in the U.S.